Saturday, July 30, 2016

French Defence vs Mark Aikins

Throughout my career people would find out that I played chess. I have many interests. I talk about chess, but hopefully not too much. I try not to annoy my non-chess playing friends! Sometimes people ask if they can play me a game. Other times I happen upon a chess game in progress and play the winner.

I do not remember the exact occasion of this game. Probably I was at some church related conference in Pennsylvania. We would meet friendly people and have some spare time during breaks or after the meetings. Sometimes we played golf. I’m terrible at it. When I play a good golfer then I lose 18 holes in a row! Some are close but all are lost.

I met Mark Aikins in chess. Clearly he knew how to play, but he was not a competitive tournament player. It was just nice to play. Here I am winning in 18 moves instead of losing in 18 holes.

For some strange reason I played the French Defence 1.e4 e6 as Black. Two years before this game I had written a book on the Alapin French. That book covered the line after 2.d4 d5 3.Be3. Our game below sees White also play a pawn and bishop but to the more conservative squares of 2.d3 d5 3.Be2.

At this point I realized my opponent knew how to play but he was still at the beginner stage of opening theory. My strategy was to go after him tactically with a constant stream of threats. The result was brutal and predictable, like my golf game in reverse.

Aikins - Sawyer, Mt Bethel 1997 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Be2 [A more tricky move would be 3.Qe2 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6=] 3...Nf6 4.Nf3? [This loses the first pawn. 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 Be7=] 4...dxe4 5.dxe4 Qxd1+ 6.Kxd1 Nxe4 7.Re1? [This loses the second pawn. 7.Be3 Nc6-/+] 7...Nxf2+ 8.Kd2 Ne4+ 9.Ke3 Nf6 10.Kf2 Bc5+ 11.Be3? [This drops a piece to a knight fork. Otherwise White is just down two pawns. 11.Kf1 Nc6-+] 11...Ng4+ 12.Kg3 Nxe3 13.Bb5+ Bd7 14.Nc3? [White could defend the c2 pawn and the rooks with 14.Na3 Nc6-+] 14...Nxc2 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Red1 Nxa1 17.Rxa1 0-0-0 18.Ne5? [After 18.Re1 Be7-+ Black would only be up a rook and three pawns.] 18...Nxe5 0-1


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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